Usually, when I mentor newcomers, I stand around the arrival point at Caledon Oxbridge University, or White Tiger Help Island and greet newcomers when they appear. If the newcomer replies to me (about four out of five don't say anything!) we go on from there. I tell them a bit about the location and how to use the tutorials, and then answer any specific questions they have.
A few times this last week, I've had an opportunity to do a bit more. One friend is building her first house in SL, and I have given her some advice on various parts of the build, and even whipped together a little model to show her how her house design could be done in a minimum number of prims. She told me today that she is helping another friend build HER house now...that gave me a very warm feeling, knowing that I'd helped her get to where she was comfortable helping others.
During my avatar safety class, a student asked a question about how voice and sound parcel limitations worked. I was not entirely sure of the correct answer...so after class, we went back to my land and did some experiments. Not only did this answer my student's question, but it solidified my own understanding of how land settings work.
Following my land class, one of the students stayed to talk. I wound up showing her my home, and taking her sailing. We went to Tradewinds Yacht Club where I showed her how to get the free Becky's Baby Sloop sailboat.
My last example involves a young man I met at Freebie Island. He asked me if I would like to dance...and then proceeded to animate his avatar with one of the horrid default dance animations. I took him to a club with a good dance ball, and patiently showed him how to use it. It was not easy, he had some trouble figuring out how to accept the dance machine's animation offer. As we were talking, he expressed an interest in learning SL photography. By happy chance, the Oxbridge photography class was just beginning, so I took him there and dropped him off.
These are the sort of encounters that really make mentoring worth while. Showing someone things that not only give them an immediate answer to a question, but open their eyes to some of the larger possibilities of Second Life. Thank you Xali, pj, Emileen, and Bray.